What do chronic intestinal diseases have to do with bacteria?

Your entire intestine is colonised by bacteria. That sounds worrying at first but, in fact, it's not. The unicellular organisms ensure that you are healthy and active unless there is an imbalance between "good" and "bad" microbes. This imbalance can lead to intestinal, immune, or weight problems. In fact, evidence suggests that specific microorganisms and changes in the composition and diversity of intestinal bacteria are associated with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.
 

Chronic inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

Both Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. Both run in spurts since affected persons sometimes have no complaints for months or, in rare cases, even for years. Both diseases are accompanied by inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. In the long run, the intestinal tissue is damaged by the inflammation. While Crohn's disease can affect the entire digestive system from mouth to anus, ulcerative colitis is restricted to the colon.

In some cases, other organs are affected in addition to the intestine. For example, inflammation of the skin or joints are not uncommon. Inflammatory intestinal diseases can also lead to complications. Bowel obstructions and openings are medical emergencies and must be treated immediately in the hospital.

It is also important to know that people with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases have a higher risk for bowel cancer. If you are affected, regular check-ups are particularly important.

The causes of the two intestinal diseases are not known. Experts suspect these diseases are caused by an autoimmune disease. Genetic causes are also being investigated. However, intestinal bacteria probably have an influence as well since there seems to be a connection between an unbalanced composition of intestinal bacteria and chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases.1

People with a chronic inflammatory bowel disease generally have a less species-rich intestinal flora. They also have less "good" bacteria like "Faecalibacterium" and more "bad" bacteria like "Escherichia coli." Research suggests that high levels of "Clostridium difficile" promotes relapses. If you suffer from a chronic intestinal disease, an intestinal analysis makes sense in any case.

Are there any chronic gastrointestinal diseases?

When it comes to gastrointestinal disease, most people think of terrible nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. This is usually due to viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) or the norovirus. However, these diseases are not chronic since chronic means permanent or recurrent. If you always, often, or sometimes have intestinal problems, irritable bowel syndrome can be behind it.

These chronic gastrointestinal disorders have a variety of symptoms and their causes are unclear. Doctors tend to think of intestinal dysfunction in these cases. However, everything from a biological standpoint is fine despite complaints. For this reason, experts describe irritable bowel syndrome as a syndrome and not as a disease even if the term intestinal disease is used to describe it.

Bauchschmerzen

It is clear that the symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome often worsen with psychic tension. If you often have stress, anxiety, sorrow, or anger, this is a possible cause for worsening symptoms. Eating spicy or unfamiliar food while travelling also seems to aggravate these symptoms.

Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, or constipation are classic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Bloating, flatulence, and unpleasant stomach pressure are also very common. Many affected people observe that the symptoms after eating get worse. In any case, try to eat slowly and find out which foods cause symptoms and which do not. If you have chronic intestinal problems, your doctor will examine you thoroughly. If the examinations do not reveal any abnormalities, irritable bowel syndrome is a distinct possibility.

Do you have enough good intestinal bacteria?

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Good question, right? You can easily find out by taking a stool sample. With INTEST.pro from BIOMES, you will find out the current condition of your bowels with a level of accuracy that is unique in Europe. This is because BIOMES compares the results from your stool sample with its extensive database. By using over 20,000 data sets, we create an intestinal flora profile that is as unique as your fingerprints.

The scientists of BIOMES examine your stool sample by high-throughput sequencing. This gives you information about many aspects of your health, including how well you can absorb vitamins, how resistant your immune system is, whether there are signs of inflammation in your intestines, and how balanced your intestinal bacteria are in general.


1. Ni J, Wu GD, Albenberg L, Tomov VT. Gut microbiota and IBD: causation or correlation? Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 ;14:573–84. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrgastro.2017.88